I’ve admittedly had Morocco on the mind lately. Lettuce and I have been toying with the idea for the spring, and it currently resides on our short list for travel. Garbanzo and Licorice both recently returned from there, and seeing other people’s travel adventures make me think “I wanna go there, too.”
Such it is with Morocco in my house right now. With an international spring trip oh-so-far away right now, the best I can do is go there with food. So tonight- chicken tagine.
I gave my tagine schpeal earlier this year when I cooked the lamb, but instead I’m twisting up my go-to Rachel Ray version. This recipe was my first exposure to tagine and as such remains my favorite. It’s quick, so flavorful and takes a negligible amount of time to make. Throw it on the stove, set to boil, go fold your laundry, come back and it’s done.
With fall weather grabbing hold of us all, throw this together and your dinner table will match the turning leaves outside. My meal sharers gave this dish a hearty thumbs up. And, because veggies are good, how about a quick tomato-cuke salad?
- 2 TB extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
- 4 cloves garlic, smashed beneath the flat of your knife with the heel of your hand, discard skins
- 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pounds chicken (I used a combination of breasts, chopped into large bite sized pieces, and drumsticks)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons grill seasoning blend (recommended: Montreal Seasoning by McCormick) or coarse salt and coarse pepper
- 2 medium or 1 large yellow skinned onion, quartered and sliced
- 1 15-ounce can chick peas, rinsed
- 10 pitted prunes, coarsely chopped
- 2 cups chicken stock (low-sodium if you buy it)
- ½ cup flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
- 2 lemons, juiced
- 1 ½ tsp ground cumin
- 1 ½ tsp smoked paprika, eyeball it
- ½ tsp ground coriander, eyeball it
- ½ tsp tumeric, eyeball it
- ¼ tsp cinnamon, a couple shakes
- Finely chopped scallions, to garnish
- Couscous to serve
- Heat a medium stock pot over medium high heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan, in a slow stream. Season the chicken with seasoning blend. Scatter chicken around the pan in an even layer. Cook chicken pieces 2 minutes on each side (about 4 if you use drumsticks) to brown, then add the onions, garlic and prunes.
- Mix spices in a small dish and scatter over the pot. Cook with the onion mixture about 5 minutes to let everything toast up. Add the stock and the garbanzos. Cover and reduce to moderate heat. Cook 15-20 minutes, until the drumsticks are fully cooked through, remove the lid and stir.
- Uncover chicken and cook another 2 to 3 minutes to thicken slightly. Adjust the seasoning, to taste, add parsley, and serve chicken on a bed of couscous. Garnish with chopped cilantro and scallions.
- If you just want to use cut chicken breast, the cooking time will be cut in half (7-8 minutes rather than 15).
- 1/2 English or seedless cucumber, diced
- 2 Roma tomatoes, diced
- Handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- 2 TB mint, diced
- 2 TB basil, julienne
- 2 TB sherry vinegar
- 1 small lemon, juiced
- 1 TB olive oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Combine the cucumber, tomato and herbs. Dress with the lemon juice, oil and vinegar. Let marinate about 15 minutes.